Employees average six unscheduled absences per year, study finds

Employees averaged six unscheduled absences from work in 2014, according to a recent study from the National Business Group on Health and Truven Health Analytics. The Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality (EMPAQ) Survey noted that for an employer with thousands of employees, that can equate to significant lost productivity. In addition, since many employers have moved to paid time off (PTO) systems, the ability to track unscheduled sick days or leaves has become a challenge.

The survey, based on responses from 107 large employers, provides information on several employer health and productivity programs. The survey found the following:

Family and Medical Leave Act. Employers experienced total FMLA leaves of 19.6 per 100 covered employees in 2014. This varied from a low of 12.8 in the pharmaceuticals industry to a high of 27.7 in the hospitality and retail industry. In terms of lost workdays for non-concurrent FMLA leaves, employers experienced 164.3 per 100 covered employees in 2014.
Short-term disability. Large employers had an overall STD incidence of 8.4 per 100 covered employees. The average cost per covered employee was $374.
Long-term disability. Across the industry, the annual LTD claim incidence was 4.13 per 1,000 employees. This varied from a low of 2.31 per 1,000 employees for the pharmaceuticals industry to 4.78 for manufacturing.
Employee assistance programs. Program costs averaged $22 per employee, with the highest spending ($38) in the energy and utilities industry and the lowest ($13) in health care. Across all industry segments, EAP participation averaged 6 cases per 100 employees.
Health risk assessments (HRA). Nearly all (88 percent) of the surveyed firms reported using an HRA. The average participation rate across industries was 49 percent. The survey found that participation rates vary greatly by industry. Pharmaceutical companies have the highest participation (74 percent), while energy and utilities average only 21 percent participation.
Onsite clinics. Over half (60 percent) of the employers surveyed offered an onsite clinic to at least some portion of their workforce. Acute care services were provided by 48 percent of employers and occupational health services by 33 percent. Manufacturers are most likely to offer an on-site clinic, with 86 percent in this sector offering the benefit.

SOURCE: National Business Group on Health and Truven Health Analytics, October 14, 2015.

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